L'Etape Du Tour, 8 July 2012

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L'Etape Du Tour, 8 July 2012

Postby bobhill » Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:17 pm

This was stage 12 of the Tour, 152km and almost 5000m of climbing going over the cols of Madeleine, Glandon, Crois de Fer, Mollard and finishing at the top of the La Toussuire ski station. It was a very hard day, there were 6000 starters and 4500 finishers, lots abandoning before the top of the Glandon. First two climbs were over 2000m and 25km in length. The others were not so bad but the legs were wrecked after the first two so the others were harder than they should have felt, it was just survival mode. I got major cramps inside both thighs halfway up the Glandon but did not stop as it would not have helped any, I just did not want to abandon, lots of riders at the roadside in various states of distress. Weather started with rain but soon dried up and was hot at 35c. The elimination times were extended by two hours due to the number of riders on the road (organisers just got it wrong).

I finished in 10:22 (position 3214), Mike Giles in 9:56 (position 2709) and Mike Harper in 10:06 (position 2931).
This year for the first time all of the climbs were timed and a Grimpeur (climbers) competition created.
My climbing time was 6:47 (position 2530), Mike G in 6:54 (position 2712) and Mike H in 6:51 (position 2618). I did not stop on any of the climbs, the others did.

I was completely wrecked on finishing and said I would never do it again, but I said that in 2010 so possibly next year if I can do something about the cramps (got same in 2010 but near the finish at top of Tourmalet).
The Etapes are announce mid October so will look at it then. I expect there will be two Etapes as per this year and last. The start is now in large groups and this helps to avoid a pile up on the first climb. It is a massive event, very well organised and feels like a tremendous achievement to ride a stage of the tour. It lives up to expectations.

We spent a further 6 days in the Alps riding the Cols and seeing the Tour. All in a great trip.

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